DAYTON -- On the anniversary of its 1954 national championship, La Salle made a triumphant return to the NCAA Tournament.
Four players scored in double figures, with Tyrone Garland producing a team-high 22, and the Explorers earned an 80-71 victory over Boise State in a First Four matchup Wednesday night atUniversity of Dayton Arena.
La Salle (22-9) is in the tournament for the first time since 1992.
Ramon Galloway scored 21 points for La Salle, which advances to face fourth-seeded Kansas State in the second round Friday in Kansas City. The Explorers have lost all three meetings with the Wildcats, the last coming in 1994.
"We're really ecstatic with the win," La Salle coach John Giannini said, "but satisfied competitors aren't as good as hungry ones. We're still playing. It's no time to be satisfied. It's time to get ready for Kansas State."
Sam Mills had 15 points, and Jerrell Wright scored 13 for the Explorers.
Anthony Drmic almost single-handily kept Boise State (21-11) in the game, scoring 28 points. He hit five of 10 3-point attempts. Derrick Marks added 14 points for the Broncos, who cut the Explorers' lead to six points in the final minute.
"We couldn't put them away," Giannini said. "They had a couple guys play at a high level, but I think we had four or five guys playing at a higher level. We had a quickness advantage. That was the difference."
The Explorers forced nine turnovers and had three steals in the first half. While Boise State settled down offensively in the second half, it struggled to guard an athletic La Salle squad.
"We knew it was going to be a challenge when we drew La Salle, with their guards and their quickness," Broncos coach Leon Rice said.
Wright, who had just two points in the first half, erupted for eight points in the first 4:17 of the second half. His dunk put the Explorers ahead 41-32.
"We're at our best when we get up and down the floor and just play," Galloway said. "It was nice to have a game like that tonight."
A 3-pointer by Garland gave La Salle an 11-point lead. Mills followed with a 3-pointer to make the score 52-38.
"We didn't come to play today defensively," said Drmic. "We couldn't stop them from driving."
Behind Drmic, Boise State kept the game relatively close until the Explorers pulled away late in the second half.
La Salle, which is 15-1 this season when recording 14 or more assists in a game, got its 15th assist Wednesday on a dish by Garland that Wright slammed home, putting the Explorers ahead 70-58 with 6:32 remaining. La Salle finished with 16 assists, led by Tyreek Duren's five.
"Coach said to share the ball," Garland said. "We did a good job of that tonight."
La Salle took control early, shooting 56 percent in the first half, including 41.7 from 3-point range.
Mills began the game 3-for-5 from the field, hitting three 3-pointers, to put the Explorers ahead 16-11.
D.J. Peterson scored off an assist from Galloway, giving La Salle a 22-12 lead and prompting a Broncos timeout with 9:45 left in the first half.
Galloway's 3-pointer pushed the Explorers' lead to 25-12.
Boise State went scoreless for more than three minutes in the first half, and La Salle took advantage.
Consecutive baskets by Garland gave the Explorers a 12-point lead. Garland's perfectly placed lob pass resulted in a thunderous dunk by Galloway to make the score 31-17.
Drmic scored 11 points in the first half as Boise State tried to stay close. The Broncos trailed by eight points at halftime.
La Salle shot 63.3 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from 3-point range, something Boise State was unable to overcome.
"We worked hard to get here," Galloway said. "We want to make a run. We want to show that La Salle can play with the best teams in the country. We're here to make a statement."
NOTES: Boise State earned the school's first at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Its previous berths resulted from winning the Big Sky and Western Athletic Conference tournaments. ... Wednesday was the 59th anniversary of the Explorers' 92-76 win over Bradley in the 1954 NCAA championship game. .. The First Four matchup was the first meeting between Boise State and La Salle.